Ofsted Reports – What do they really mean?!
Goodness, I never thought the day would come when I’d have to start thinking about schools for b. I honestly don’t know where the last few years have gone and maternity feels like it was years ago. It was! It feels like yesterday that I woke on my birthday and discovered I was pregnant. Where has the time gone? So here we are, under a year now until b starts school and I need to figure out which three schools to pop down on his application form before January.
Outstanding vs. Good
Everyone goes on about Ofsted reports but what do they really mean? When b started Busy Bees they were rated “good”. Some nurseries we saw were rated “outstanding” but they just didn’t feel right for us :/ So what makes a good nursery or school good and an outstanding nursery/school outstanding?! And if the school is rated “satisfactory” does that mean it will actually be just fine because it is assessed all the time? And what about schools where the report was published years ago? What does that mean? Is the school still “good”?!
If you aren’t familiar with OFSTED, it means, “Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills” and it is a government department that inspects and regulates educational institutions. After the inspection, Ofsted write and publish a report. This report goes into detail about the school’s performance, observations from lessons, pupils’ work, the school website and views from staff, parents and children. The report makes judgements on a number of areas:
Achievements and standards
Development and wellbeing
Quality of teaching and learning
How the curriculum is taught
The care, guidance and support the school provides
How well the school is managed
On a Scale of…
All these judgements are then scored on a scale of 1 to 4:
Before b started nursery I had zero interest in Ofsted and reports but now that he is due to start school, I want to learn a bit more.
What does it all really mean?
Well, lucky for you, I’ve been doing a bit of research and this is what I’ve found during my late night internet sessions. If you are currently on the hunt for a school for your child then here are a few links which might help:
“I can’t believe anyone would send their child to a school on the basis of just reading an Ofsted Inspection report. The school might have been inspected anything up to seven years ago and in that time there might have been a new head or any number of big changes.”
2. The School Run gives a handy guide to reading Ofsted reports and what to look out for.
“I think that you can tell a fair bit about a school these days from their homepage (it is, after all, what they want people to know about their school first). There you will probably find a statement about their ethos – read it. Is it what you think of as most important? School philosophies can vary enormously!”
3. Dad Info gives a nice overview of what Ofsted means in an article “Understanding Ofsted”.
“When consulting the Ofsted report for your local schools, don’t be tempted to take everything at face value and always go and visit the school for yourself.”
We’ve yet to begin our Primary school search for the little man but one thing is for sure, I won’t be basing my decisions purely on what Ofsted tell me. I’ve already spent a good deal of time looking through some of the websites of the schools I’m interested in and taking a read of their newsletters.
Are you currently searching for a school for your child? What is most important to you on your mission to find a good school? Don’t forget to pin this post for later!